Plumbing Services are Available to Home Owners
Finding a good plumber and knowing when you need a plumber are two of the biggest headaches for home owners looking to maintain their homes. Even if you are an avid DIYer some plumbing issues are going to be beyond you and should be left to the professional. But how do you know when you are at that point?
How do you choose a plumber who is going to do a good job and not cost you a ton of money? Taking the time to answer these questions before reaching out to a plumber is crucial to saving money, time and heartache.
In certain instances the plumbing repair or replacement is covered by home owner’s insurance. It is worth the time and effort to call your insurance company to find out. This is especially true if the repair you need is costly. Understanding what the typical charge is for a job is also crucial. Use the following plumbing guide to give you a quick tutorial and answer the most typical questions you may have when faced with a plumbing chore.
Do You Need a Plumber?
Not every plumbing job requires a plumber, because the fix is easy enough to perform yourself. Even if you are not good with tools or take on much home maintenance, certain repairs can be done quicker and more cheaply if you do it yourself. Likewise, depending on the job, hiring a handyman to do the job is less costly as well. For example, do you have a clogged drain that needs to be snaked? If you do not feel up to the job yourself, then call a handyman.
Most handymen charge between $15 to $25 an hour, and most drains needing to be unclogged take less than an hour to perform. They also come with their own tools. Your first stop when faced with a small plumbing issue is to look on YouTube for the potential repair. Gauge your own ability and desire to tackle the task, and then decide if you need a trained plumber or simply a handyman willing to drag the guck out of your drains.
However, if you have leaks, need new pipe laid, want to replace a large sink or relocate something that uses water, then do not attempt to do this on your own. Chances are high that the handyman does not have the background or licensing to do this type of work either. Hot water tanks are also tricky pieces of equipment and should be left to the professional to install. It involves more than removing the old one and popping in a new one. While you can replace a toilet yourself, it is time consuming, backbreaking work best left to a plumber.
How to Find a Good Local Plumber
Reputable plumbers all have some characteristics in common. They carry insurance and are licensed. This protects you in the instance they damage something while working on the repair, or they injure themselves while working. They should carry a minimum of $500,000 in liability insurance, and have a current workman’s compensation policy. You can find out if the plumber is licensed (simply taking his word for it is dangerous) by looking it up online.
Most states offer a license number lookup. Once you get the plumber’s license number, which may be listed on his website, go to the state’s licensing website. Plug in the license number and it will tell you who the license belongs to and whether it is current. Some states also list any complaints against the license holder. It only takes 15 minutes to do and can save you trouble in the future.
The best place to find a good plumber is social media. Word of mouth is golden because the referral is coming from people you know, who have also used this person’s services. If you do not feel like going the social media route and need a repair quickly, then try the online referral sites such as Angie’s List or HomeAdvisor. Once you locate a plumber on any of these sites, or through social media, take a moment to read online reviews about this person or company. Yelp.com is a great review site for this as well as the Better Business Bureau.
Cost of Typical Plumbing Repairs
The cost of a plumbing repair is based on several factors. The difficulty of the job is the largest factor, but distance the plumber must travel, cost of any parts and risk involved all play a part in the overall price. In general, you can expect to pay the following prices for these typical plumbing jobs performed by a plumber:
- Slab leaks: $125-400
- Leaking pipes: $150-350
- Burst pipes: $1,000-4,000
- Drywall repair costs (water damage): $200-700
- Drain clearing: $200
- Sewer installation: $3000
- Sewer line cleanout: $300
- Main line sewer repair: $2500
- Water heater repair: $550
- Toilet repair: $150-300
Keep in mind that which state you are in also dictates the cost of the job. The same plumbing job in California will often be priced less in North Carolina. Always ask for an estimate up front, and get estimates from at least three different companies or individuals.
Plumbing Services Usually Covered by Home Owners Insurance
While each home owner’s insurance is different, certain coverages are typical. For example, if your home experiences damage as a result of a broken pipe or plumbing malfunction then you are covered. Slow leaks that have been ongoing for years, or a local flood are often not covered. This is often called your dwelling coverage in your policy. Some policies also offer property coverage in case you have personal items that are damaged or destroyed due to the plumbing incident. Check to see if your policy covers the cost of a hotel or other place to stay while the damage is being repaired. Not all policies offer this, but it is worth knowing in case the water damage is severe.